For Cat People

There are, of course, may templates available for use with metal and/or polymer clay. These are great, but you don’t need to limit yourself to them! I recently found a stencil for wall paining of cat images. Most were far too large to be practical for use with metal clay. But one of the images, of a running cat with its tail extended, was about an inch and a half. This is not too large for metal clay at all!

My first step was to roll silver clay out to a depth of 2 mm. Then I covered the clay with plastic wrap and placed the stencil atop it. Pushing down, partly with fingers and partly with a metal tool, I flattened the edges of the stencil around the cat. The plastic wrap caused the resulting cat to be naturally rounded (or at least close enough so that it can be finished during greenware finishing).


The cat, not yet finished, appears above. The next step was to make a background for it. I rolled silver clay to a thickness of 1 mm, then textured it to a thickness of 0.75 mm (there is lots of silver in the cat, so making the backing thinner both reduced the weight and the cost.


I chose a teardrop and a rather abstract design. Of course what shape and what pattern one uses is completely up to one’s own taste in the matter.

Next, I attached the cat the to background with slip and finished cleaning the greenware. I made a bail, and decorated it with syringe. The greenware, ready to fire, looked like this:


I fired it and tumbled it. The result appears below. It is almost ready now. However, I thought the background could use a bit more definition.


I used Blackmax ™ to patina the background. I got as little Blackmax as possible on the cat. Then I carefully polished the piece by hand, removing all the patina from the cat while leaving enough on the background to make it interesting. I still thought it needed a bit more contrast. To address this, I polished the cat (but not the rest of the piece) with Wenol ™ silver polish. That completed the piece! I then added a chain and photographed it with a coin, for scale.


The result, a lovely piece for a cat lover! And, more importantly, an example of how one does not have to limit one’s self to the templates that are made for metal clay. Other templates, whether original or repurposed from some other use, can serve quite well!!



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